Of Fish and Buses

Being given fish is a bit likely buses, one comes along followed by another. So there we were in Loch Inver mile building sailing up in NW Scotland and berthed with mighty Suliven towering above us (picture) when someone asked for a carrier bag, I went back to Wild Spirit and grabbed a couple. He filled one with fish for himself one for us. A few minutes later someone else came by and just gave us another bag of fish. Now we have a good fridge but, we had already bought a lot of Venison, and there is a limit to how many fish you can eat. Fortunately along came a tough little Westerly with a crusty old sailor on who was having not such a good day as he had run aground. Naturally we asked him to dinner and a considerable amount of wine was consumed before he staggered back to his small yacht with one rather full bag of fish. We left early next morning to catch the tide leaving him to sleep off the night before.

The Cuillins they are calling

Loch Coruisk on Skye is freshwater and we can’t get into it, but we have anchored just outside close to Soay Island under the towering Cuillins. We awoke to find ourselves surrounded by seals some of which were ‘singing’ away quite happily. As part of our RYA Mile building training in the Hebrides in 2018 we hope to be back out to this desolate but beautiful place which is inaccessible by Road.

Here is the other way to get there but, weather permitting, we will be there overnight. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g1224708-d4106233-Reviews-Loch_Coruisk-Elgol_Isle_of_Skye_The_Hebrides_Scotland.html

Blue Eyed Hare

Several years ago on Rathlin Island I saw a Blue eyed hare, properly known as the ‘Rathlin Golden hare’ the ones with blue eyes are a local mutation which has survived. The picture is a normal one, but there are blue eyed ones as well, honest. We shall be back out to Rathlin Island in 2018 on one of our Mile building sailing. It is only a day’s sail from our Scottish base at Troon and has a lovely harbour plus a local drinking hole which is particularly good after the day trippers have returned to the mainland. As well as the hares they are many seals and of course numerous sea birds. On the opposite mainland shore there are magnificent basalt columns and just down the coast is the World Heritage site Giant’s Causeway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant%27s_Causeway

Death of Killer Whale

The only time I have been a bit close to a Killer Whale was when mile builder sailing just north on the Orkneys when 2 came alongside us. With one on each side and less than 6 foot away I had a profound understanding that I was not the top predator. After a few minutes they fell into line behind us and a few minutes later swam away. When we move Wild Spirit up to Scotland next year and have some mile building trips we might hope to see Killer Whales but recent reports suggest an alarming decline in the number of them living round Scotland. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/02/uk-killer-whale-died-extreme-levels-toxic-pollutants Many years ago I was in charge of the Environmental Protection Unit of Sheffield Council and remember the problems of land contaminated with PCB which are what is causing the extinction of the Scottish Pod. I can do nothing about PBCs but we will continue take all steps to avoid plastic going in the sea.

Man Overboard — How much to write down?

As part of the move up to Scotland for cruises, mile building and training out to the Hebrides in summer 2018 I was reviewing the training material we are required to keep on board for MCA Coding purposes. In doing so I also recalled the detailed ‘manuals’ I had looked at on other yachts I have sailed this year. For Man Overboard (MOB) it is tempting to write a lot, including how to turn the yacht round, drop sails, turn on engine, Mayday calls etc. But thinking back to the first MOB I experienced; whilst we had practised and started to follow our procedure, we had to modify it considerably. Then, after the casualty had been hauled close to the yacht with a throwing line, we had to stop a keen crew member using a boathook to harpoon him. Thinking about subsequent MOBs they included 2 in Marinas where turning the boat round was definitely not a good idea. Another was for one over the side but clipped on, turning the boat hard into the wind did the trick, up he came and the team member next to him hauled him over the rail. Turn the wrong way and he would have been dragged under at 10 knots. The whole thing happened so quickly that I was then able to turn the helm back without going dead in the water. We continued to race finishing 5th out of 16 in our Sydney to Hobart class. So tempting it may be to produce lots of words and try and cover all eventualities, recovery of a MOB really relies on a skilled operator who is familiar with the resources available and effectively uses them. Practising MOB recovery is part of RYA courses but getting a Fender out is a lot different from an unconscious person. For a conscious one I suggest https://youtu.be/s4GzBZOu5kQ is rather better than a boathook!

Work and sail

Mike and Ian, pictured plus Graham and I spent 3 days on board doing various tasks readying Wild Spirit for the Milebuiding sailing trips in Scotland next year. Our next work and sail starts evening of Sunday 4th Decemeber following the 3 Peaks Yacht Race team get together to look at modifications for shorthanded spinnaker work.

2018 taking off

Bookings are coming in for the Caribbean 600. They have started a bit later than last year and I suspect this is Hurricane related. Antigua has not been affected though nearby, low lying, Barbuda was badly hit. Some of the Caribbean Islands will have shortages of accomodation and there may be a knock on effect in Antigua but we include accomodation on Juno, our spacious 65 footer, alongside in the Marina next to the Yacht Club. The mile building sailing in Scotland is also filling up with just 2 places left on the Troon to Barmouth and Dublin to Troon Trips.

RYA and Bar

The RYA course ending on 10th Novemeber was one of the most enjoyable ever. Stuart not only easily passed his Comp Crew but proved a good Helm. Max comfortably passed his Day Skipper and Barry, Paul D and Mike continued to build experience towards YM. The wind was variable and intially it looked like we might get used to hearing the engone, but we mangaed to find enough wind and then it was a case of where was more sheltered. Our Maximum was Force 7 on the last day and we hit 11.6 knots over the ground coming back in through Hurst. The Scocial side was excellent with Irish Night in Cowes giving us the ‘earworm’ of Danny Boy for the rest of the week, stridently performed by Paul D we came to know and expect it. I can only hope that when we are doing the Mile builders off Scotland next year the Mull of Kintyre does not have the same effect. Thank you Max, Paul, Barry, Mike and Stuart.

Away Sailing until 10th Novemeber

We are running a RYA course so away until next Saturday. There may be a bit of a delay in answering e-mails.

The sailing mile builder trips are starting to book up for next year with Dublin to Troon having only one place left. 2 -laces left in Volvo Round Ireland team and space for the caribbean 600 in February.